Sholem Aleichem: A Life in Fact and Fiction
Part of the Yiddish Book Center's Online Lecture Series
Sholem Aleichem: A Life in Fact and Fiction is a lecture series by Professor Jeremy Dauber, the Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture in the Department of Germanic Languages at Columbia University, specializing in Yiddish and Jewish literature, American Jewish culture and American studies.
Sholem Aleichem's stories are some of the most remarkable and beloved in Yiddish literature. Yet few know the writer’s equally remarkable life story or the depth of his literary and cultural legacy. In this series, Professor Dauber offers a fresh and fascinating look at the life and work of the most beloved Yiddish author, whose work provides a window into the world of Eastern European Jews as they began to confront the forces of cultural, political, and religious modernity that tore through the Russian Empire in the final decades of the nineteenth century.
Lecture 1 – Thirteen Ways of Looking at Sholem Aleichem
An introduction to the man and his world: a biographical overview, featuring a baker’s dozen of reasons that Sholem Aleichem is a must-read writer for today’s world.
Lecture 2 – The Great Creations: Tevye and Menakhem-Mendl
Sholem Aleichem had dozens of great creations. But any lover of the author’s work has a special place in his heart for these two relatives (yes, they’re related—one of the many things to be discussed in this lecture).
Lecture 3 – Sholem Aleichem's America: From Old World to New, in Monologue and Motl
Sholem Aleichem’s encounters with America, in life and in literature, were very much of a piece with many other aspects of his life: optimism tempered by experience that became the stuff of comic genius. This lecture will address it by focusing on one of Sholem Aleichem’s other great characters, Motl, the Cantor’s son, and a few of his choicest monologues.
Lecture 4 – The American Afterlife of Sholem Aleichem: A Conversation with Jewish Literature Scholar Josh Lambert
In a wide-ranging conversation, Jeremy Dauber will talk with Jewish literature scholar Josh Lambert about the Sholem Aleichem century in America, which boasted parades (of both the welcome and funeral variety), blacklists and Tonys, bestsellers and film adaptations, and how Tevye became an iconic American character—and what that meant for Sholem Aleichem’s legacy and the nature of Jewish life and culture in America.
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